This week we’ve looked at many different examples of making the “right” choice on the course. The American Ninja Warrior competitors are faced with split-second decisions when it comes to every obstacle.
Jessie Graff, JJ Woods, and Sam Sann have all showed us how individual choices can secure success. David Campbell’s season 12 Qualifiers run showed us how he made a choice in an almost impossible situation.
The trouble started on just the second obstacle, Lunatic Ledge. This wasn’t a brand new obstacle. It made its debut in season 11 on the Seattle/Tacoma course. But it proved why producers brought it back. It’s a tricky one.
After leaping to the pendulum, David lost all momentum. We’ve seen this happen to competitors in both seasons 11 and 12. It generally has been the death knell for that run.
There was a lot of this for a minute or two. David desperately tried to restart the swinging movement by see-sawing up and down.
The crew on the sidelines grew quiet. Brian Kretch’s face (he was watching virtually) said it all. We were watching the slow, painful end of David’s year, which had just started.
Then, David started climbing. We’ve seen people try to save this obstacle using this tactic before as well. Again, it hasn’t proved successful. A few people started to physically grimace.
Like a bird taking flight...
He somehow did it!
With barely a brief moment to celebrate the fact that he had essentially just risen from the dead, David continued down the course. If THAT wasn’t enough, he closed things out by defeating the Mega Wall and earning $10,000.
David is one of the few remaining competitors who have taken part in every single season of the show. To say he has experience is an understatement. Leaping from the top of the obstacle was probably not a choice he wanted to make.
But David leaned on his years of knowledge to make the “right” choice at the moment. He could have gotten discouraged, looked sheepishly at the camera, and jumped into the water. We’ve seen people do it before. He could have tried to jump from the bottom ledge of the obstacle, which would have guaranteed that he would fail. David did the math. Jumping from the top was not a sure bet. In fact, it was a long shot. But it was the only calculation that gave him a chance at the outcome he wanted.
And, oh wow, did it pay off.